COME JOIN the FUN! ORWMA’s annual deer spotlight survey has begun. It’s happening most Friday or Saturday nights in August. Join your neighbors to help count the deer and spend time visiting with your neighbors. Starting point for the count is at the Trickett’s home. Contact Jim Trickett for information & times: 979-732-2447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Texas Whitetail Deer Study Group, held April 10-11, 2014 seminar included over 160 participants and twenty plus wildlife biologists, DVM’s, and doctorate-level wildlife scientists from various agencies and practices. This very significant program was co-sponsored by the Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas A&M AGRILIFE Extension and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservations Service. The seminar’s subtitle was “Great Expectations: Optimizing Deer Management in the Post Oak Savanna and Gulf-Coast Prairies. The majority of the participants were individuals who have small parcels of land, with a few others that owned or operated very large ranches. Here is a summary of the educational points presented:
The small parcel phenomenon has been made successful by the amount of cooperation amongst landowners vis-a-vis wildlife management co-ops or associations.
As a result of co-ops and antler restrictions the Texas deer population of 13.8 million is the largest in the nation.
The ratio of doe to buck in Colorado County is >3.3:1 and according to all biologists present should be reduced to <1.5:1. The primary concern is the increased pressure on available food, leading to reduced available nutrition and thus declining physical condition and survival rates. The biologists also strongly recommend harvesting only mature bucks which are more than 5 years of age.
Habitat should be diverse in structure and plant availability. Deer need brush, tall grasses and timber, all of which provide safety and privacy.
Nutrition is best derived from a variety of plants in the habitat and deer will decide for themselves what is best for their bodies at any given time. They are very selective, choosing according to protein or other nutrient chemicals that are necessary for their growth and maintenance.
Deer consume several pounds of plant material and 1.5 gallons of water per day.
Nutrition sources include: sporadically available forbs (which includes most wildflowers) and soft and hard mast (fruit, berries, acorns and nuts) ; and, continuously available browse such as Beautyberry, greenbriar, sophora, oaks, poison ivy and mustang grapes. Deer seldom eat grass or sedges and only when these plants are young and other nutrition is not available.
Unfortunately, the presenters’ notes were not included in the handout materials. Presentation notes have been requested and will be made available if possible.
A flyer was available at the recent CCWMA banquet, announcing a two-day seminar to be held April 10-11, 2014 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Columbus. The program is offered through the Texas Wildlife Association with additional sponsorship from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. A few of the topics to be included are:
history of deer management in the Post Oak Savanna and Gulf-Coast Prairies
managing deer on small acreage
an overview on deer nutrition
The second day of the program includes a field day at J3J4 Ranch for habitat management techniques, native and introduced vegetation identification and deer necropsy.
The seminar fee is $75 before 3/31 or $100 after 3/31 and includes meals and handout materials. You may register online at www.texas-wildlife.org/resources/events/texas-deer-study-group. More information is available from Clint Faas email@example.com or 979-541-9803
I have registered to attend and look forward to learning more about how ranch habitat management and deer management go together.
We hope you make plans to participate in ORWMA’s Annual Wounded Warrior Hunt coming up on December 14 & 15. We host several wounded warriors from Brooke Army Medical Center for the 2-day period and give them a chance to hunt at Oakridge Ranch. For more details on how you can participate, please click on the “Groups” tab, then “Deer”; next click on “Wounded Warrior Hunt“.
Oakridge Ranch’s Douglas Mason gives away several wounded warrior hunts throughout the year. Below is a nice picture of a recent successful hunt Douglas (& his dogs) had with Jeremy Spoerle and his family. Jeremy was wounded in 2007. Pictured are Jeremy with family members Barb, Callie & John. Thank you, Douglas, for what you do for our wounded warriors all year long!
This young, healthy buck is a nice example of one to pass on during this hunting season. This buck appears to be approximately 2 1/2 years old and is a nice 8-pointer; but he is illegal in Colorado County, Texas. As you can see, this fellow does not have a 13-inch spread on the antlers. He’ll pass on some good genes to the next generation(s).
Remember to closely check out your deer when deciding which one to harvest. Study your herd. Consider taking does first and early in the season. TPWD biologists tell us we need to take many more does that bucks this year as the doe-to-buck ratio at Oakridge Ranch is too high. Be sure to contact David Mitchem, 979-484-9240, to get your doe tags.
Here’s another look at this young gent. Enjoy! And as always, live life outdoors!
Here’s a picture of Will Carr with his first buck of the 2013 Bow season. Will decided to have the head mounted since this is such a nice beautiful buck that field dressed at 126 pounds. Congratulations, Will on a nice deer!
Note: This is an Oakridge Ranch deer. The Carr’s place is off Miller Creek Loop. Thanks to the Carrs for allowing us to share this photo.
This picture was sent in as an example of a buck that might need to be cut from the herd. (The camera was tilted a bit, but still a good picture of this buck.) Study the deer in your area, learn more about aging on the hoof, and please make your selections carefully when Archery Whitetail season opens tomorrow.
Also remember safety is priority number one when using either a bow or rifle for hunting. ORWMA requests everyone (bow & rifle hunters) to hunt from elevated stands only. Think ahead about the trajectory of your shot. Think ahead about the safety of your family, friends and neighbors.
A member of the Verbena family, American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), also called “French Mulberry” by some, is a deciduous, perennial native shrub growing up to 6 feet wide and almost as tall. One of the most eye-catching plants at this time of year, it’s the purple berries that draw people’s attention rather than the palest of pink flowers in spring & early summer. The flowers are approximately ¼ inch wide, and the berries are not much bigger than that when formed in late summer. The berries hold their bright color for many weeks, even after the leaves are gone, usually until a good frost has occurred.
American Beautyberry is one of the favorite forage plants for whitetail deer in the Oak Prairie Region of Texas. Check out the link on the ORWMA “Groups” tab above, and click on Deer, then “Links for Managing Whitetails”, click on “Favorite Forage Plants of Whitetail Deer” to learn about other favorite plants for deer in this area.While the deer enjoy the leaves, several species of birds enjoy the berries in the fall & winter, such as Bobwhite Quail, Robins and even domestic chickens.
What beauty is added to our landscapes when most others have stopped blooming in late summer and fall while adding to beneficial food sources for both deer and birds! The berries on their long stems also make beautiful dried fall decorations in our homes (but please take care to keep them away from children). Click on the following link to find out more on this wonderful plant: http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CAAM2.